As of July 14, 2017, the revised rules of the European Small Claims Procedure have come into force. This new fast-track procedure is designed to simplify previously lengthy and costly court procedures for consumers regarding cross-border claims of up to 5,000€.
These new rules imply the following:
- This procedure helps to settle common disputes between consumers and businesses. For instance, when consumers order a product online and cross-border, which ultimately doesn’t match the description, and then struggle to get a refund through the trader.
- Besides commercial cases, this procedure can also handle cross-border disputes of a ‘civil’ nature. Types of cross-border claims covered by the procedure are, e.g., the delivery of goods, payment of money, damages arising from an accident or requiring someone to perform a contract.
- The new procedure is available to litigants as an alternative to the procedures existing under the laws of the Member States. A judgment given by the European Small Claims Procedure is recognized and enforceable in another Member State without the need for a declaration of enforceability and any other formalities.
- These new rules will help to reduce unnecessary traveling for court appearances by making better use of technology – such as kicking-off the procedure online, using video-conferencing for communication, accepting documents sent by email by the court as well as limiting physical presence only to cases when the court cannot make a decision based on written documents.
- Moreover, the new rules limit resulting court fees to be proportionate to the value of the claim.
Source: European Commission